Connection Without Words

Connection Without Words

Potluck Arts will move two steps closer to its goal of exposing Northwest Arkansas audiences to contemporary circus arts in November, when the company will present works by two critically acclaimed international performance troupes at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale.

“Jenni Taylor Swain founded Potluck Arts,” says Lydia Corbell, who calls herself a “juggler of ideas” — a phrase Swain coined — with the organization. “She learned a lot about this art form, which is not as familiar in the United States as it is in other areas of the world. She thought, ‘What a great discipline to share with our community.’ We really think Potluck strengthens community bonds and helps integrate arts audiences — mostly because a lot of circus arts are not language-based arts. So that is a big goal and mission of ours: to nurture inclusive gatherings through performing arts, particularly circus arts.”

Mexico’s Triciclo Rojo will perform Nov. 4 at the Arts Center of the Ozarks. Corbell says Potluck Arts first spotted the troupe at an International Performing Arts for Youth conference.

“They specialize in telling poetic stories through dance and clowning — specifically for children and families,” says Corbell. “‘Vagabond’ is the story of three travelers in search of happiness and it’s a beautiful, poetic show. Something we say a lot is ‘it’s suitable for everyone, no matter their age or language,’ and it really is for everyone.”

The United Kingdom’s Fish and Game troupe will perform “The Polar Bears Go Up!” on Nov. 20 and 21 at ACO.

“This is another non-language based piece about two polar bears, and it’s scheduled for the week before Thanksgiving,” says Corbell. “That’s kind of an unusual time to have a performance, but we thought it might be a great way for families to start the holiday together. This show has that wintry holiday feeling. It’s a beautiful and tenderhearted show for people of all ages and languages, but it is geared towards ages 2 through 7 — but that doesn’t mean that other ages won’t thoroughly enjoy it.”

Both shows will feature what Corbell calls a “pre-show play room” where families can “engage in circus arts, create a craft and literally play — it’s not just ‘bring a kid and sit down in a dark theater.’ We want there to be an engaging element to these events as well.”

A $1 admission fee ensures further community accessibility.

Corbell, who, as a mother of young children, says she understands what it’s like to be a family on a budget.

“A lot of people are being introduced to the arts for the first time through these shows, and we’re so grateful to get support from the Walton Family Foundation and the Endeavor Foundation.”

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